“It’s so cold in Florida that the weather service warns of falling frozen iguanas,” read a Miami Herald headline on Wednesday, January 22, the second day of the NATPE Miami market. The temperature warmed up the next day in this subtropical city, but it was a rainy last day (In the opening picture DJ Ken One is feeling the cold weather at one NATPE party).
Not that the market started on a better note. Indeed, the managers of the Fontainebleau Hotel, NATPE Miami’s headquarters, reportedly received a note from hackers who demanded money in order to unlock their computer system the Thursday prior to the market’s start. A hotel manager did not answer a request for confirmation, but rumors swirled that the FBI was called in and that, ultimately, the hotel paid up.
The computer problem caused those NATPE participants who arrived on Saturday to have to wait long hours in order to get into their rooms. The hotel offered aggrieved guests $200 credit for their troubles.
Inexplicably, the hotel also locked the outside doors of both the Tresor Tower and the Sorrento Tower, forcing participants to walk all the way around the compound in order to enter the hotel. Later on, following many complaints, the doors were reopened from the outside.
The other towers with exhibition suites were the Chateau and the Versailles. These areas were in addition to the convention floors, which housed stands, exhibitor tables, and poolside cabanas.
Then, on opening day, Tuesday, there was a false fire alarm that caused a short evacuation in some areas of the compound. Additionally, due to poor coordination, there were some delays in delivering the market’s two daily publications to the rooms, and some exhibitors fumed that the market floor doors were still closed at 9 a.m., leaving no pre-arranged places to meet with buyers. This was supposedly done in order to allow participants to attend the opening ceremony, giving credence to the idea that NATPE organizers favor conferences over marketplace activities.
The 10th anniversary of NATPE in Miami brought with it lots of parties (a record 20), NATPE’s own Iris Awards (that returned after a 19-year hiatus), a first-time sit-down dinner for the Tartikoff Awards, the second annual Global TV Demand Awards, and, as explained by NATPE CEO JP Bommel during a closing press conference, a large number of streaming platform buyers.
Another notable development was the increased presence of U.S. TV station groups, which allowed CBS Television Distribution to announce that its new daytime talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show, cleared 85 percent of U.S. homes for fall 2020.
At NATPE, Debmar-Mercury and FOX TV stations threw a party to celebrate their Nick Cannon Show, which is set to launching in fall 2020 in U.S. syndication.
The increased attendance of U.S. domestic TV stations was also documented by the presence of many local FOX TV stations and by Perry Sook, founder and CEO of Nexstar, a group with 216 local TV stations in 118 markets, in addition to domestic syndicators such as Carsey-Werner, Litton, and Trifecta.
Disney also unveiled its new company name for its LATAM Division (Buena Vista Media Distribution, which is headed by Fernando Barbosa), and the newly re-merged Viacom and CBS came up with some seven company names, including ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group (headed by Armano Nuñez); ViacomCBS Networks International (headed by Pierluigi Gazzolo), which includes ViacomCBS Networks Americas and ViacomCBS International Studios. Nuñez’s group includes ViacomCBS Studios International.
With a cascade of the group’s companies in attendance, the staging of two major parties, and the clearance of a new syndicated show, ViacomCBS clearly dominated this edition of NATPE Miami,
As expected, MIP-TV was on the minds of many NATPE participants, as evidenced by the presence of seven MIP-TV operatives, headed by Lucy Smith, the market’s number three executive.
The photo review below gives an overview of NATPE Miami 2020: